Every year “The Ten Commandments” is shown at Easter. This is confusing to me. Wouldn’t it be better to show “Ben Hur – A story of the Christ” at Easter? Ah well, such is the wisdom of the TV programmers. Anyway, watching “The Ten Commandments” prepped me to write on Moses’ moms. It took four women to get Moses from infancy to adulthood. Let’s take a look at them all.
Hebrew Midwives – Shiphrah and Puah
Please Read: Exodus 1:15-22 (below)
Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah (means prolific or procreate) and the other Puah (means childbearing or joy of parents), “When you help the Hebrew women give birth, observe them as they deliver. If the child is a son, kill him, but if it’s a daughter, she may live.” The Hebrew midwives, however, feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this and let the boys live?”
The midwives said to Pharaoh, “The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before a midwife can get to them.” So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied and became very numerous. Since the midwives feared God, He gave them families. Pharaoh then commanded all his people: “You must throw every son born to the Hebrews into the Nile, but let every daughter live.”
The midwives disobey the king and lie about it and God blesses them!?! Is God saying civil disobedience and lying are okay? Peter and the apostles were told to stop preaching and their reply was:
“We must obey God rather than men.”
The normal way we operate is to tell the truth(not lie) and to obey governmental authorities. God puts rules in place for our protection and our blessing. The government has received delegated authority from God and we are commanded to obey. However, when the government defies God’s law – telling us to murder babies – we are called to obey God rather than man. Shiphrah and Puah feared God and saved Moses’ life.
Jochebed – “The Lord is Glory”
Please Read: Exodus 2:1-10 (below), Exodus 6:20, Numbers 26:59, Hebrews 11:23
“The objective of parenting is to take the raw material with which our babies arrive on this earth and then gradually mold it into mature, responsible, and God-fearing adults.” – Dr. James Dobson
Commentaries like to go on and on about how daring Jochebed was to hide Moses for three months. How did she do it? Wait a minute. Only the boy babies were to be killed, so….there were plenty of girl babies around crying and screaming and toddling about. Maybe at three months old she simply could no longer hide the fact that Moses was a boy. Maybe a neighbor saw her changing his diaper and she knew she would soon be reported to the authorities.
Whatever the circumstance was that led Jochebed to put her beautiful son in the crocodile-infested waters, we know it required courage, faith and overcoming fear. Hebrews 11 commends Moses’ parents for their actions. They prayed. They planned. They trusted God. That’s a good pattern for any mother to follow.
God has such a sense of humor and He rewards BIG FAITH. Unlike the Hebrew midwives who had to disobey, Jochebed actually obeys the edict to put all the boy children in the river. She just adds a floating basket, and trusts God to steer the “ark” to its final destination. She is rewarded. God not only saves her son’s life, He places Moses in the palace and Jochebed gets paid for taking care of her own kid! What could be better than that?
We don’t know whether Jochebed came to Pharoah’s house to nurse Moses or if he remained under guard with Jochebed in Goshen. Scripture would seem to indicate the latter. “When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son.”
Pharoah’s daughter takes over from here. We know she was a kind, compassionate woman. She was the only thing standing between Moses and certain death. She showed up at the right place at the right time and had mercy on an infant set adrift in a basket – showing God can use anyone, even a woman who does not believe in Him, to accomplish His will. Because of Pharoah’s daughter, Moses lived the first 40 years of his life in the palace. “Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was might in words and in deeds.” (Acts 7:22)
Two women – a slave and a princess – preserved the life of Israel’s future deliverer
and so preserved the entire Jewish race.
How is Jesus involved in the story of Jochebed?
Like Mary, Jochebed gave birth to a special child. Like Mary, Jochebed had to protect her son from a ruler’s edict – Herod ordered all the baby boys killed just like Pharaoh. God supernaturally protected both Moses and Jesus – the law giver and the fulfillment of the law.
Questions to Ponder
- Scripture says three times that Moses was special, beautiful. Why do you think Pharaoh’s daughter decided to keep Moses?
- What about all the other baby boys who didn’t make it? Where was God when they were being killed?
- In what area are you failing to trust God in regards to the lives of your children?
Prayer by Ann Spangler:
Father, thank you for the gift and calling of motherhood. Help me to remember that my love for my children is merely a reflection of your own love for them. With that in mind, give me grace to surrender my anxiety (and courage to trust your path for them). Replace (my fears) with a sense of trust and calm as I learn to depend on You for everything. Amen
The Bottom Line
Things I learned from Jochebed: Who can find a godly mother? She is far more precious than jewels.